Digital Commerce -toolkit for SMEs (DK)

Project partners 
Entrepreneurs and SMEs in Vejen Municipality

Contact data
Else Mejer
tel. + 45 30 112 177
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Key words : Supporting entrepreneurship, competitive advantage, use of digital resources, economic sustainability, education/training

Main problems to be solved (analysis):
Generally, broadband is available in more than 95 % of the Municipality of Vejen, supporting the development of companies in the area. A trend analysis focusing on how the Internet is used commercially indicates a rapid development of the B2C area, while the B2B area still has a great potential. Based on interviews with a number of experts and SMEs, there still remain many SMEs who do not know how to take advantage of the benefits and participate in the growth, which to a large extent is due to lack of knowledge about what they can actually achieve and how to go about it.

Policy frameworks to be dealt with/fitting in: Unknown
Aim of the project:
-    to collect and analyse best practices and challenges facing SMEs in a rural area in order to be able to develop methods for development and implementation of digital commerce strategies in rural based SMEs
-    Increased knowledge and advice to SMEs on the potential of e-commerce.
 (Expected) Results:
-    A community of partners has been involved in developing methods and tools
-    The key areas of intervention which are crucial for E- and M-commerce have been identified
-    Commercializing through e-commerce focusing on how the needs of the SMEs are most properly met and complied with.

(Expected) outcome within the WP:
-    Stronger cooperation with educational institutions and national agencies
-    To encourage SMEs to develop new commercial products and processes
-    Maximising the e-commerce potential for SMEs

(Expected) outcome for the region as a whole (impact of the project; effects may be written in terms of the sustainability triangle = 3 P approach (people, planet, profit), i.e. benefits on the social, economical and physical part)

Planning: 2009 - 2012

Costs:  35.000 euro

Financing: Vital Rural Area and Vejen Municipality

Implementation of the project (cf. CAA):
    which stakeholders were involved?
-    Local business services from all of the Region of South Denmark
-    Institut for Miljø- & Erhvervsudvikling, Syddansk Universitet
-    Institut for Marketing og Management
-    Trekantområdet Danmark
-    IT Forum - Trekantområdet
-    Sydenergi


1 What successes have been achieved so far in the pilot project?
-   A report issues the challenges and opportunities for e-commerce and outlines how this can best be met with adequate counselling, possibly in the form of a competence centre. The report created a trend analysis showing that from a B2B perspective there is great potential for the commercial use of the Internet, but also that this potential is currently unresolved. Barriers explaining the SMEs lack of use of the commercial benefits of the Internet are rooted in lack of knowledge about what they can actually achieve. That's why counselling and awareness should be key priorities to make the SMEs familiar with the benefits. In working with e-commerce we also included several educational institutions, where the focus is the qualification of knowledge and a higher level of knowledge in the individual SME.

2 What are the expected boundary conditions for the project to be implemented?
-    The prerequisite is a good internet connection
-    There is as such no restriction in relation to the individual SME, it can be both sole traders and larger businesses, sales of both product and service.

3 Which related projects can be studied or consulted (other innovative best practice examples) before starting to think on implementation?  
-    On-line Support for Promotion of Local Businesses, France
-    Internet marketing in rural areas, Estland –

4 What is the applicability / transferability of the project?
-    E-commerce is essential for Rural Areas, since it is independent of geography and distance.
-  Local business services independent of place, can help companies start up and run an e-business.

5 Which tools does the project bring to alleviate / help start up implementation elsewhere?
-    There is a report regarding e-commerce where the challenges are outlined and it explains how more qualified counselling can accommodate a number of the challenges.
-    The report was conducted on the basis of a qualitative method – interviews with stakeholders. The interviews where based on semi structured interview guides, which consisted of questions regarding the development of e-business among SMEs as well as the barriers SMEs are facing when it comes to commercialisation through the internet.These semi structured interview guides were a helpful tool in conducting the report, and could be used in other contexts as well.

6 Sustainability

b) what are the benefits of the project seen from the Profit, Planet, and People side?  

Date of production of this project format, - latest version 19.4.2013